Massachusetts is known as The Bay State thanks to its close proximity to several large bays, such as the famous Cape Cod Bay, Plymouth Bay, and Quincy Bay. In the academic world, the country’s fourteenth largest state is most famous for being home to the number one university in the world—Harvard University. While Harvard is the pride and joy of Massachusetts (if not the entire country), this isn’t the only thing that makes the commonwealth an excellent place to live and study. Massachusetts’s many historic cities have a lively art and culture scene that attracts art lovers, artists, and aspiring artists form around the world.
For starters, Massachusetts is home to a large collection of art museums and galleries located throughout principal cities such as Boston, Worcester, Springfield, and Lowell. Many of the state’s smaller cities, such as North Adams, also have their fair share of art venues. The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) in North Adams and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston are just a few of the state’s top art museums. Mass MoCA is a popular excursion for art lovers and artists from New York, Albany, Boston, New Hampshire, Northeastern Vermont, and Bennington, Vermont. The state also has many venues for ballet, modern dance, live music, and opera performances, numerous art & design centers, and plenty of art schools.
Massachusetts’s art community is welcoming and collaborative, but it is also competitive—much like the state’s art schools and programs. Just a few top programs are offered at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
Massachusetts Art Schools
Massachusetts is home to 120+ accredited colleges and universities. Many of them are private. More than 343,000 students are enrolled in these schools, with more than 4,453 students enrolled in Massachusetts’s top art schools. These schools (and many of the state’s traditional colleges) offer a variety of degrees from painting to illustration to experimental art. Scroll through the list below to review Massachusetts’s best options for aspiring artists and what they have to offer.
Hampshire College - Degrees Offered: B. A. Animation and Digital Art; Digital Media
University of Massachusetts Amherst - Degrees Offered: B.A. Studio Art, Painting; B. F. A. Studio Art with Concentration in Animation; B. F. A. Digital Media: Still Imagery, Digital Media: Time Based
Montserrat College of Art - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Animation and Interactive Media, Graphic Design, Illustration
Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Animation, Design, Illustration; M. F. A. Visual Arts; Advanced Professional Certificates in Animation, Design and Illustration
Northeastern University - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Digital Art, Graphic Design; Combined Majors in Game Design, Interactive Media (type of degree awarded depends on the combination chosen); M. F. A. Studio Art
School of the Museum of Fine Arts - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Film and Animation, Text and Image Arts; M. F. A. Studio Art (with Tufts University), one-year post-baccalaureate program
The New England School of Art & Design at Suffolk University - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Graphic Design, Illustration; M. A. Graphic Design; Certificate in Graphic Design
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Visual Design with Concentration in Digital Media, Graphic Design, Illustration; M. F. A. Visual Design with Emphasis in Digital Media, Graphic Design or Illustration
University of Massachusetts Lowell - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Art with Concentration in Design, Emphases in Animation, Graphic Design, Interactive Media and Web Design
Springfield College - Degrees Offered: B. S. Computer Graphics/Digital Art
More Art related programs to consider:
- Atlanta, Georgia; Savannah, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and SCAD eLearning
Employment and Salary Trends for Massachusetts Artists
Massachusetts is home to around 55,990 salaried artists from illustrators to painters to digital artists. The population of salaried artists increased significantly since 2002, when the talent pool stood at 38,890. The average salary increased as well. In 2002, salaried artists averaged $46,020. In 2010, they averaged $57,710. The mean annual wage for artists nationwide was $52,290 in 2010. In 2002, the average salary was $41,660.
Fine Artists: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Massachusetts was home to 290 salaried fine artists in 2002. By 2010, the population had increased to 410. The average salary for fine artists increased as well from $39,670 in 2002 to $45,960 in 2010.
Art Directors: Massachusetts had a population of 730 art directors in 2002. By 2010, the population had increased significantly to 1,010. Salaries were significantly higher in 2010 than in 2002 as well. In 2002, Massachusetts’ art directors averaged $61,700. In 2010, they averaged an impressive $91,380.